Hometown: I grew up in Flandreau and am currently living and working in Mitchell.
I work for the Mitchell School District as a speech language pathologist. In addition to volunteer work, I enjoy reading, scrapbooking, and spending time with family and friends.
Your connection with Make-A-Wish?
I have been trained as a wish granter. After it has been determined that a child is eligible for a wish, it is my privilege to be part of a team that meets with the wish child and their family to determine the child’s wish.
How long have you been a volunteer?
I’ve been a volunteer for over 7 years. I started in November, 2005.
Why do you volunteer for Make-A-Wish?
My parents instilled in me the importance of volunteerism and remembering that to whom much is given, much is expected. A colleague recruited me. She was already a Make-a-Wish® volunteer and there was a need for more volunteers in the Mitchell area. I continue to volunteer because now that I understand the “Power of a Wish,” I want to be a part of providing as many families as possible with this experience.
What is the best part of being involved with Make-A-Wish?
The best part is having a part in making wishes come true for children with life-threatening illnesses. It’s such an honor to meet each and every wish family and be invited into their homes to share in their hopes and dreams. It’s also inspiring to see how hard the staff works to plan these wishes down to the very smallest detail so the experience is as stress-free as possible for the families.
Tell us about a memorable wish experience:
As our wish team was leaving a boy’s home, he came running to the door and gave each of us a glow-in-the-dark “moon rock” from his collection. It has a special place on my china hutch. It sheds a little bit of light on dark days, which I feel is the perfect daily reminder of the mission of Make-a-Wish South Dakota.
If you could encourage someone who is thinking about volunteering for Make-A-Wish, what would you tell them?
People have the idea that it’s “sad” working with children with life threatening illnesses, when nothing could be further from the truth. Working with these children brings me pure joy. I encourage people to at least complete the training and give it a try. It’s the best gift you could ever give yourself.
For more information about volunteer opportunities in your area, please contact Kerry Pollema at 605.335.8000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.